Moments that count

There are moments in life that demand your full attention. Those are usually the moments that really count - if you’re someone that likes to count that is. You know, the kind of counting that most of us do; how old, what year, how much, how long, how many times…

On some tiny islands out in the nowhere of the Pacific they don’t care so much for that kind of calculating. For the Hawaiians, life goes through stages, not years. Days follow the sun, not clocks. Mountains are wisdom keepers and homes for powerful creatures, no matter how tall they are.

On those kinds of mountains, you can have moments that call for your full attention. Invited to play a few gigs on Kauai (click player on bottom to have a listen to excerpt of shared songs and tales with DJ Steven Meredith at "Kauai LIVE" on KKCR!), we headed off into the natural and spiritual wonder of the Hawaiian islands. After a couple of days on 'the Big Island' a new friend offered a tour of one of the telescopes on the dormant volcano of Mauna Kea. The natives of Hawaii tried to stop this station of stargazing as their ancient laws only allow hereditary chiefs to visit the sacred peak. Not surprisingly, despite their efforts, Mauna Kea now houses the world’s largest observatory with telescopes operated by eleven countries. It’s a fast climb of 2 hours from sea level to 13,802 ft, so altitude sickness is a definite factor.

Craterscape of Mauna Kea

But numbers and facts seem to matter less when it’s freezing cold, about half of your normal oxygen level and you’re looking out onto a moonscape of craters against a sea of dense clouds, onto which the shadow of the mountain on which you stand is reflected back at you by the setting sun. Your brain is confused for obvious reasons, and your heart takes over for a second, breathing it in as the miracle it all truly is. You experience what the mountain experiences, pulsating as one. And then the cold takes over and your attention is scattered again, trying to find the door of the observatory to get warm, realizing it’s gotten darker, checking if the moon is up, if the stars are out, how out of it am I, should I use the oxygen mask? And you find the door, have a cup of hot chocolate and some astronaut candy, and then, once the blood has returned to your toes and fingers, you dare to peek out again. Out into the darkness of Mauna Kea, and again you’re engulfed. Now by the waking stars and moon, to which you have never felt this close before. And you feel not like a tourist but like an astronaut thrown out of gravity to experience the beauty of life in its non-earthly form.

Sunset over the observatory on Mauna Kea

Hawaii holds mystical beauty, fascinating creatures and generous hearts. Just like the rest of the world. Don't believe everything that you hear on the news. Believe in love...

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Peace be with you,

- Ida Kristin